Guidance Counselor career?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by IokuA, Jan 20, 2009.

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  1. IokuA


    Nov 10, 2008
    Ok, so I know I enjoy helping others. I love being a positive influence on others and helping out.

    In short, I am looking to be a guidance counselor (maybe teacher) or school psychologist (I know these are different) and maybe work on opening my own practice on the side.

    So, I have simple questions. What degrees should I look for (bachelors and masters) for guidance counseling in a highschool setting and above (community college). Is there the option of teaching at a community college with said degree?

    Can I work in my own practice with said degree?

    What is average starting salary for guidance counseling/counseling?

    I enjoy every aspect of what I know about counseling... most of all I want to help young adults/teenagers and show they they can make something of themselves. Starting salary for teachers here in Texas is 47k... so I hope its higher in Texas... but I don't plan on staying in Texas.

    Any help is much appreciated!
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  3. psychryan


    Jan 29, 2009
    Hope this helps you somewhat.
  4. Gradschoolfun


    Apr 20, 2009
    Just want to correct what was said by an earlier poster. You can have your own practice with a MA in Counseling if you become licensed. Licensing requirement for TX can be found here:

    You can also become a licensed social worker (LCSW) if you're interested in having your own practice, but if you are more interested in Guidance and Counseling, the LPC may be the way to go.
  5. WannaBeDrMe

    WannaBeDrMe 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    My advisement would be to carefully research the licensure requirements in the state you intend to practice. If you aren't certain yet, check many states and compare.

    In my state, school counselors are master's level practitioners and they are NOT able to be licensed for private counseling practice. The internship requirements are not the same as those who intend to go for the LPC credentials. School counseling programs are very curriculum specific compared with community counseling.

    Similarly, to practice in higher ed, some schools will have a higher ed counseling curriculum or counseling adult students, etc. The jobs you would be eligible for at a comm college in my state (and I can only speak to here) would be admissions counselor or advising for first year students.

    Counselors who work in higher ed counseling centers tend to be experienced/specialized master's level clinicians or doctoral level practitioners.

    As for school social work, that's also a diff animal here... they deal mostly with casework, homelessness, poverty, and attendance issues. The attendance is actually a vital and interesting piece... through the legal mandates, you can encourage the court to order judgment for therapeutic interventions and regular reporting back to the court. This helps keep some of the families "honest"...

    Hmm. what else... there are a billion and a half ways you can help children and youth so I'd do some serious thinking before you choose a clinical field as your area of interest. The money is not great in my state and the others where I have friends who work in the schools.

    If you are def going school route, based on your stated interests, I'd choose school counseling. They can become Nationally Board Certified and usually hit a significant pay raise. School social workers do NOT have that option. School Psychologists inside the schools, in my state, rarely do more than write behavior plans and do testing.

    You could explore some volunteer opportunities or paraprofessional positions. There are also vocational rehab type positions where your job would be training wayword youth.

    LOTS and LOTS ... in fact, infinite ways to have kids in the ''09.

    Good luck with your decision.
  6. rachelw


    Dec 17, 2011
    Hi! Sorry to bump this thread up again! I've been teaching many years and I'm also thinking about getting counseling degree, and I know I want to counsel, not be buried under bureaucratic paperwork.

    I'm wondering if working in inner city / urban schools (middle or high schools) as a school counselor would increase one's chance in doing the actual COUNSELING (rather than tons of paperwork, scheduling, etc.), given that youths in urban areas encounter more personal problems or crisis?

    I imagine that in suburban schools, the emphasis would be more on college prep. In private schools, discipline issues would be rare, and counselors therefore would be dealing with more administrative duties. Is this assumption correct?

    I specifically want to work with foster youths or teenagers from dysfunctional families (neglect, abandoned or abused) background, giving academic and personal guidance.

    I would really appreciate your input on what it's like to be a school/guidance counselor in urban settings. What are your duties? What's a typical day like? How much time is actually spent on counseling at-risk youths? How much freedom do you have in crafting your role and niche in a school? ... etc. Thank you!
  7. slasher magerk

    slasher magerk

    Jan 17, 2012
    Hi Rachel,

    I wouldn't recommend it. I just finished my M.A. in School Counseling (aka Guidance Counselor) and I interned a full year at an inner city school. I was more interested in the counseling aspect too which is why I have applied/interviewed at PhD/PsyD programs (now I am anxiously waiting to hear back from them). I would say it's something like an 80/20 split between scheduling/SATs/Regents/College Prep/etc and counseling. I would recommend getting a Masters in Social Work or Mental Health and Wellness if counseling is primarily what you would like to do. I also would be careful in generalizing the problems faced by urban/suburban/public/private school kids.
  8. jmhschaffer


    Jul 14, 2011
    In addition, it can be really hard to find a job. Not sure where you are located, but degrees that limit you to working only in the school system, at least in NYC, are not a good idea. People here can't find jobs because there are so few of them; meanwhile, the student loan debt piles up. My cousin went for a master's in guidance counseling and ended up getting teaching assistant credentials to even get a school-based job. Because it was a guidance counseling degree, she really had no other options like she might have with an LPC degree. Prior to graduating her MA, she supposedly had a job lined up since her father-in-law was a longtime teacher in the system, but budget cuts got in the way. The exception, I would assume, is if you are bilingual in a language that is common in your city.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk

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